December 3, 2008 at 5:31 pm | Posted in Book Blather | 4 Comments

It looks like I’m within galloping distance of my goal of reading 400 books this year.  Last night I finished #375, ironically entitled How to Tell When You’re Tired.  I’ve already passed the goal I made at New Year’s, one book per day.

In certain respects, this is great.  I’ve read more this year than the last three years put together.  For the first time, I’ve gone out and read current books shortly after they were published, and I’ve found it thrilling to join in discussions about these books.  I’ve also gone out of my way to read more award winners, and I’ve found I’m enjoying what I read significantly more.  It seems so obvious now, and I only wish the idea had occurred to me sooner.  The other thing is that I used to read several books at a time, and since I started trying to read one a day, I now almost always read one book all the way through before starting another.  This has increased my focus and recall tremendously.

In the past, I would walk into the library, wander around, and grab random things off the shelves, taking home whatever caught my fancy that day.  I didn’t realize there is an entire hidden world in the average library – the hold shelves, where those in the know go to get the best books.  See, a really popular book is going to be reviewed and promoted all over the place, and thus people are going to reserve it, often before it’s even published.  It may not show up on the shelves for several months, as it’s constantly in demand.  My method of browsing wouldn’t lead me to stumble across these titles for years, if at all.  Now, I’m one of the cognoscenti.

Herein lies the problem.  With my expanded reading has come greater awareness of all the exciting new books being published.  Thus my list of books to be read has expanded.  I’ve read 375 books, and my list has grown from roughly 800 to 1400.  At that rate, it’s quite certain I’ll never catch up.  The worst part is that I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to continue reading 400 books per year.  My rate is likely to drop to 250 or less, depending on how many Big Fat Books I read next year.

They say the more you know, the more you realize how much you don’t know.  It’s true with reading in general – the more you read, the more you realize how much you won’t be able to read.  If this is true, I’m actually reading less than ever before.

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